Which is the best Hungarian Kékfrankos?
A great snapshot was taken of Austrian and Hungarian Kékfrankos–Blaufränkisch wines by Pécsi Borozó wine magazine. 112 wines were tasted rigorously. The winner is Austrian, so is the second and the third. The best Hungarian has gained the 4th place and comes from Szekszárd, from a young and talented producer, Zoltán Heimann Jr.
The empire is past tense, but our palate is present
The Austro-Hungarian Empire played significant role in Europe between 1867 and 1918. One and a half century – now wonder we have many customs and traditions in common. Wiener Schnitzel is a frequent visitor on our dinner table, and we like “spritz” in our wine, only we call it “fröccs”. We both are crazy about vibrant acidity in our wines, therefore Kékfrankos is not only the most widely planted grape in Hungary, but also the most beloved by many of us (in Austria Blaufränkisch is the 2nd most widely planted after Zweigelt).
The team of Pécsi Borozó decided to take a snapshot of the wines of the variety from what was once the Habsburg Monarchy, and with the help of a colleague living in Graz, Tamás Jakab (the winner of our 3rd Hungarian WebWineWriting contest), a surprisingly large number of wines arrived: 55 from Austria and 57 from Hungary.
The tasting procedure was rigorous: each wine was tasted at least twice, for the two occasions two separate bottles were opened and the whole session took several days.
Szekszárd is the best, but Sopron is there, too
As written earlier, the highest scores were given to Austrian wines: Ernst Triebaumer 2017, Kollwentz 2009 and Markus Schuller 2018. The Hungarian wine with the highest score is Heimann & Fiai (Sons) Szívem 2018, then again the neighbours come with three wines. The most wines came from Szekszárd wine region, and Sopron was really active as well. “To our greatest delight, Sopron has woken up again and sent a commendable number of wines to be judged. My other source of delight was Szekszárd, a wine region where Kékfrankos is named as one of their key varieties, and this is certainly not unfounded when you look at the final results of the test. Whereas the lack of wines from Eger and even more from Lake Balaton was painful! I know that a wine magazine test will not change the world, but during these strange times, that have now persisted for nearly a year, so much media noise can surely be no disadvantage. Quite the opposite! Hence, Sopron and Szekszárd are double winners of our first thematic test of the year, given that their results were even better due to the absence of more serious competition.” – commented Dániel Ercsey, the editor of Pécsi Borozó.
Lively on the palate – Heimann & Fiai Szívem 2018
“Exciting nose, not explosively intense but with exotic, oriental spice, freshly pressed sour cherry juice and ripe plum all mixed together. Lively on the palate, it has buzz and life, coffee-like fruit acidity, lots of spice and plenty of sour cherry. A little brusque and crunchy on the one hand, a little fruit punch syrup on the other. It is young and clearly on its way up.“ (Text from Pécsi Borozó)
The description above definitely makes everyone curious about the wine, and what is even better, if you click on the website of Heimann és Fia, you will find every tiny – but important detail – about the wine. You will learn that the fruit comes from a special, 50 year old parcel which was reconstructed, the organic fruit enjoyed abundant sunshine, the vinification was gentle, fermentation was spontaneous, ageing took place in large Hungarian oak for 8 months – you even get a short voice demo so that you can learn how to pronounce the name of the wine. This wine description is one of the most detailed in the world, for sure.
There is only one piece of information missing, probably deliberately, but I will tell you: the name of the parcel is Szívem, which means My heart. Zoltán does not translate it anywhere, but I am convinced that words carry feelings, and as a Hungarian, the name makes me even more curious – and I would like the foreigners to have the same feelings.
The wine is available:
USA: Danch&Granger Selections (California), Knit Wines (New York), Canada: Rezin (Quebec), Germany: K&U Weinhalle (Nürnberg), Naturgenuss GmbH, Weinhandlung Suff (Berlin) BorStore.de, Weingenuss aus Ungarn (online), Denmark: Løgismose, The Netherlands: Anfors-Imperial, Belgium: Roi de Rois, Russia: Lion Wine, Poland: NaWino